WHEN the Barker Road Methodist Church singles ministry, Connect@brmc, was inaugurated in May 2006, one of its mission statements was “to serve the community locally and in missions”.
We were looking for a place to go on a short mission and when Operation Mobilisation (OM) invited us to participate in its missions programme to teach English as a Foreign Language in Myanmar, we seized the opportunity. With the support of the Chairman of the TRAC Board of Missions and our pastors, a team of 10 set off for Yangon for the period of Oct 21 to 25, 2006.
The programme suited everyone in the team as we would stay in comfortable hotels with air-conditioning, teach English according to a prescribed syllabus and above all, we could go on an educational holiday thereafter. Many in the team are working people with tight schedules. Besides, many of us needed a holiday and what better way than to combine it with a mission focus. It was a holiday with a difference.
We taught English as a foreign language for two days and went on an educational tour of Myanmar for the rest of the time, learning about its culture and history. We had opportunities to interact with the young people in Myanmar. Since our “mission” was to teach English as a foreign language, make new friends and share God’s love with them, we were privileged to be given this opportunity.
After a five-day stay in Yangon, some of us travelled to some of the tourist places for our “R&R”. We were fascinated by the floating islands in Inle Lake, saw the reminders of the British colonial past in Pyin Oo Lwin, rested at Popa and even managed to play golf at a nearby golf course. We thank God for providing us with time for recreation despite the hectic schedule for this trip. Ours was not the traditional mission trip to conduct evangelistic rallies, visit orphanages or to conduct free medical clinics. From the beginning this would be different. We would do what God led us to do and we would also take a holiday together.
We saw how God provided for us in ways beyond our expectations. In May 2006, a new Singapore Ambassador, Mr Robert Chua, a committed Christian, was appointed to Myanmar. We met him and it was God’s timing for the team to arrive at Yangon in time to witness the dedication of the donated generator at the Methodist English Church whose services and activities can now be organised with consistent power supply.
It was our joy and privilege to be able to lead in the worship and fellowship with the pastor, choir and congregation. Ms Irene Chan gave a moving testimony of how God had led her from a life of brokenness and bitterness to a new life of boldness, of peace and joy with fresh directions for her new-found life in Christ Jesus.
One of my most memorable instances during the trip was how God provided a meeting room for the team in the hotel when we had a meeting with OM. It was impractical for me to invite 15 people to my hotel room for an official meeting. We prayed for God’s provision and the hotel allowed us the use of the meeting room where we heard from the OM staff about their work.
Every evening the team members would meet for devotions and a short briefing. We studied selections from “Wisdom to Live By” – reflections on the book of Ecclesiastes. The team prayed together. It was so beautiful to see how God spoke to each of us individually as we sang during worship and the book study.
Would we recommend this trip to everyone? Most certainly! Go with the right attitude to be used by God and you will find your mission trip meaningful and enriching. You may not be saving souls by the dozen as in an evangelistic rally or in a medical mission. But God has different ways of reaching out to people and we should be open to the way He is leading us.
Grace Ong is the Chairman of Connect@brmc, the ministry for singles, at Barker Road Methodist Church.